10 Apps that improve your cottage experience

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A long weekend at the cottage is the perfect excuse to disconnect, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t still find plenty of cottage-approved uses for your smartphone. While Flashlight will always be one of our favourite apps for all those times we arrived after dark, we’ve found 10 other apps that are guaranteed to improve your cottage experience.

CTV News Cottage Traffic App

Using traffic and construction reports, along with user-generated information, CTV’s app lets you know what to expect on the road ahead—whether your destination is in Simcoe County, Muskoka, Georgian Bay, Parry Sound, or southern Ontario. With a focus on popular routes, such as Barrie to Huntsville, the only thing it doesn’t do is entertain your family when you get caught in an inescapable traffic jam. (There are trivia apps for that.)

Cost: free

Learn more here.

Leafsnap

Developed by researchers at the Smithsonian Institute, Leafsnap uses visual recognition software to identify trees and plants. Simply snap a picture of unknown foliage and this app will help you name the plant. While Leafsnap doesn’t yet contain identification for trees throughout all of North America, with some creativity it can be used as more than just a field guide. Set up a scavenger hunt for the kids using plants found in the app and send them outside.

Cost: free

Learn more here.

Classic Camping Cookbook & Meal Planner

Sponsored by Coleman, this app leaves something to be desired in terms of the range of recipes. But we love that it helps you complete your shopping ahead of time. Ingredients from your selected barbecue and campfire recipes are compiled into shopping lists, making kid-friendly cottage meals a breeze to plan.

Cost: free

Learn more here.

Ontario Trails Council Mobile

With over 2000 trails for outdoor activities, this app is the perfect place to start in charting your route for your next adventure—regardless of whether you’re looking for a new hiking path, ski trail, or ATV route.

Cost: free

Learn more here.

Starmap

Let’s face it—being able to find Orion’s belt simply isn’t impressive to anyone over the age of 5. That’s where Starmap comes in. Awarded “Best Product of the Year” by Sky & Telescope, this intuitive app is billed as “a complete planetarium in your hand.” Ideal for amateur astronomers and perfect for campfire stargazing, Starmap aids in the identification of 350,000 visible stars and constellations.

Cost: $4.99

Learn more here.

Discover Ontario

It’s been raining all week and Trivial Pursuit for the fourth day in a row isn’t going to cut it. Luckily, Ontario Tourism’s official app is the ultimate cure for cabin fever, helping users to find events, festivals and activities happening nearby, rain or shine.

Cost: free

Learn more here.

Gaia GPS

Wary of heading off on a new, unexplored trail without access to your maps app? That’s where Gaia comes in. Developed by six hikers, this GPS app takes your bushwalk offline, allowing you to download navigational tools in advance. It also records tracks and waypoints, as well as takes geo-tagged photos on-route.

Cost: $19.99

Learn more here.

The FishFinder

Using data from fishermen all over the world, the FishFinder will guide you to the best fishing holes, setting you up to catch the big one. It also allows users to reference hundreds of species, tag fish and tag favourite fishing spots.

Cost: $2.99

Learn more here.

Health & Safety Watch

Pooling together advisory data from more than 500 different websites, this app is your go-to guide to cottage hazards. Focusing on warnings in your vicinity, the app offers food product recalls, weather reports and boil water advisories, all in one place. (For other emergency scenarios, St John Ambulance also offers a handy First Aid app.)

Cost: free

Learn more here.

Wild Edibles

There are tons of reference guide apps out there, but this is one of our favourites because you can bring your discoveries to the table. Once you’ve identified the edible roots or nuts that you foraged for—and ensured that they’re not lookalikes (the app helps you with that)—use the built-in recipes to prepare your next meal.

Cost: $7.99

Learn more here.

Have poor cellular reception at your cottage? Learn how SureCall’s signal booster can keep you connected at surecall.com.